Need a 9.4-Liter V8? Chevrolet Has You Covered

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

With reports coming out everywhere that American muscle cars will be revised into electrified sedans or crossover vehicles, you might find yourself in the market for the biggest V8 you can find before they’re made intentionally scarce. But perhaps you’re keen to enter the drag-racing scene and find the Dodge Demon’s supercharged 6.2-liter insufficient for what could be the last gasp of petroleum-powered insanity.

Chevrolet believes it has you covered with the 2022 COPO Camaro, which can be ordered with an enormous 572-cubic-inch (9.4-liter) motor or a couple of LS-based, small-block alternatives.

Those smaller engines come in two flavors. For the fainthearted, there’s a naturally aspirated 427-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) V8 the National Hot Rod Association has rated at 470 horsepower. Though the COPO unit that seems more fairly stacked against the Challenger Mopar Drag Pak or Mustang Cobra Jet is the supercharged 350-cubic-inch V8 the NHRA quoted at 580 hp. Sadly, the 572-cubic-inch motor hasn’t been assessed yet. We estimate its output as substantial — to say the least — though less robust than its siblings in terms of on-paper value.

Of course, nobody buying a COPO Camaro plans on running them on the street. They’re specifically designed to compete in NHRA Stock and Super Stock class eliminations and cannot be legally driven on public roads. This is also why they all come equipped with an ATI Racing Products TH400 three-speed automatic that wrangles all the power flooding to the rear wheels. Customers also receive specialty carbon-fiber hoods and wheelie bars (for starters) by default, with Chevrolet providing an option to add things like a truck-mounted weight box and parachute.

But going with the “base model” isn’t exactly a thrifty decision, as getting into any of them requires a six-figure commitment. The 572 COPO Camaro starts at $105,500 (before taxes or fees), while the 427 comes in at $117,500. The smaller 350-cubic-inch model, which also happens to have the most factory competition and highest peak output, starts at a sizable $130,000.

The good news is that Chevrolet doesn’t plan on limiting COPO Camaro models this year. Originally, General Motors only allowed its Central Office Production Order to allow drag-obsessed dealers to commission just 69 (nice) examples of the original car in 1969. Since being revived, that program has continued with vehicles being distributed by lottery. But we’re living in an era where there are suddenly a lot more wealthy people to purchase something like a COPO and fewer middle-class individuals who can afford a mid-tier muscle car for weekend adventures. So GM has opted against placing production limits on the purpose-built dragsters this time around. Instead, they’ll simply be delivered on a first-come-first-served basis.

[Images: General Motors]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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5 of 17 comments
  • FreedMike FreedMike on Aug 03, 2021

    Definitely needs more cubic inches.

  • DC Bruce DC Bruce on Aug 03, 2021

    I wonder where else this beast is going to be found in the GM product line. It seems hard to believe that GM would spend all this money on design and tooling for this engine, for such a small market. What am I missing?

    • See 1 previous
    • Ol Shel Ol Shel on Aug 03, 2021

      At $16K a pop, they don't need too many racers/fools to step up.

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